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The Prefabricated Home

From sash windows and ceramic tiles to barracks and warehouses, industrialized building has thrived since the nineteenth century in Europe and America. Yet architects have neglected this area of practical construction in favor of historical, theoretical, and artistic analyses, resulting in the emergence of an influential building industry with architects on the far margins. Colin Davies explores in The Prefabricated Home how the relationship between architecture and industrialized building has now become an urgent issue for architects.

The Prefabricated Home outlines the methods and motives of prefabricated buildings and assesses their architectural implications. Davies traces the origins of the branded building phenomenon with examples ranging from the Dymaxion bathroom to IKEA’s "Bo Klok" house. He also analyzes the use of industrialized buildings worldwide—including McDonald’s drive-through restaurants and contrasts the aesthetic concerns of architects against the economic ones of industrialized building manufacturers. Ultimately, The Prefabricated Home proposes a partnership of architects and industrialized building that could potentially produce an exciting new type of humane and eco-conscious architecture.

248 pages | 70 halftones | 5 1/2 x 8 1/2

Architecture: History of Architecture

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"An impassioned call to architects to change their attitudes to design processes, manufacturing methods and relationships with clients. . . The Prefabricated Home is a more complex and provocative book than it might at first appear. By turns angry and optimistic, it is both a challenging and enjoyable read."

Building Design

"Simple . . . necessary."


"An excellent survey of the prefabrication debate."

Grand Designs

"A modestly titled but densely informative book that could potentially help change the world, for real. . . . He reveals fresh insight on the braoder issues of architecture and the original ideals of the modernists. . . . [Davies] writes with clarity, grace, and an intellectual rigour that is surprisingly free of jargon. The Prefabricated Home is a brilliant and timely book for anyone in the profession."

Adele Weder | Azure

"An incisive, provocative, and well researched polemic."

Stephen Mullin | Architectural Review

“Easy-to-read and provocative . . . the book will be valuable to a wide and diverse audience of general readers, design students, practitioners, and academics . . . Davies achieves such broad appeal by cleverly packaging two narratives into one book. His polemic on modern architecture is embedded inside of a competent short history of western architects’ experimentations with prefabricated single family homes.”

Design Issues

Table of Contents

Part I:  Histories
1.  An architectural history
2.  A non-architectural history
3.  House of the century: the mobile home
Part II: Theories
4.  The question of authorship
5.  Professionalism and pattern books
6.  Down with the system
Part III:  Practices
7.  Ideal homes
8.  Little boxes
9.  The robot and the carpenter
Select Bibliography
Photographic Acknowledgements

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